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Toby on a recent visit to New Beetwell Street Bus Station to discuss the homelessness issues in Chesterfield

Universal Credit could lead to an increase in homelessness, warns Chesterfield MP

Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, has this week written to the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, raising concerns about the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) and calling for it to be postponed.

Toby said,Chesterfield is recording rough sleeping levels similar to what we would previously only expect in city centres. This is putting vulnerable people at risk and has led to an increase in street drinking and antisocial behaviour in the town centre. I have spoken to a variety of agencies and housing providers, all of whom are concerned that Universal Credit will lead to further evictions, more people on the streets and increased pressure on services.”

A recent report by the Association of Retained Council Housing and the National Federation of ALMOs has highlighted that for claimants on Universal Credit, 73% were in arrears in March 2017, compared to 31% of non-UC claimants, with average arrears almost double amongst UC claimants. Research done by the Citizens Advice Bureau has also shown huge delays in claims due to maladministration that has resulted in severe hardship and rent arrears for claimants.

Universal Credit will also mean that the Housing Element, which is currently paid as Housing Benefit direct to councils, housing associations and landlords, will be paid directly to claimants.

Toby on a recent visit to New Beetwell Street Bus Station to discuss the homelessness issues in Chesterfield

Toby on a recent visit to New Beetwell Street Bus Station to discuss problems homelessness and rough sleeping in Chesterfield

Housing providers and charities have warned that this could result in many claimants not paying their rent and becoming at risk of homelessness.

Toby added, “The Borough Council, Police and local agencies are working together to try and address the homelessness situation in town, but they also need Government to take action. The

Government need to put Universal Credit on hold until they have investigated the concerns raised from the pilot areas and made changes to ensure it does not lead to hardship, rent arrears and more people losing their homes.”

You can read the full letter Toby has written to the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions : Toby letter to Damian Green MP

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Toby Perkins statement on Paris Conference

Toby Perkins statement on Paris Conference

The Right-wing news blog Guido Fawkes carried a ‘story’ today about Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield’s attendance at a Human Rights conference in Paris which was hosted by the pro-democracy National Council for Resistance in Iran.

The story, which the website chose to publish without seeking clarification or comment, repeats long discredited slurs from the Iranian Regime about the pro- democracy resistance and ignores the fact that the NCRI won support from hundreds of MPs and peers for their ten point plan for Iran and that in fact Toby was part of a cross-party British delegation of around 20 people led by a recent Conservative Secretary of State and around a dozen other MPs and peers of all parties.

He said:

“The only thing that’s ‘bizarre’ about this story is that Guido Fawkes has so little to put on their clapped out website that they think this ‘story’ is newsworthy.

I went to the conference with a cross party group that also included at least 5 Tory MPs who don’t get a mention in the story.

It was also attended by International figures like former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani and Congressmen and MPs from USA, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and many other countries, with around 60,000 pro- democracy supporters in attendance.

Many MPs believe that resistance to the Iranian regime which executes more of its own citizens than any other Government and is a major source of the continued unrest in the Middle East should be supported, it’s odd that the website should choose to promote the spin from the Iranian regime and their attempts to discredit those who call for democracy. I am happy to work with anyone who wishes to see democracy return to Iran.”

If any constituents would like to learn more about the cross party delegation to Paris earlier this year, and Toby’s work to promote democracy in Iran, please contact him on toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk

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MP celebrates as National Lottery investment in Chesterfield’s heritage hits £5,322,554 million

Toby Perkins MP, the Member of Parliament for Chesterfield has today welcomed news that £5,322,554 of National Lottery money has been invested in Chesterfield’s heritage projects since 1994.

Toby said: “Chesterfield has an incredibly rich history and I’m delighted to learn that thanks to the National Lottery local people have been exploring and enjoying that heritage. Just like many towns and cities across the UK, the Chesterfield we live in today was shaped by the First World War.”

From exploring local archaeology and restoring local parks and buildings to protecting wildlife and researching local history, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded more than 40 grants to heritage projects in the area.

Now, HLF is encouraging people in Chesterfield to apply for grants between £3,000 and £10,000 to undertake projects exploring the impact and legacy of the First World War beyond 1918.

Toby has welcomed the continued investment in preserving Chesterfield’s historical sites and ensuring the towns rich heritage is preserved

Toby added, “The projects and events that the Heritage Lottery Fund have funded in Chesterfield not only ensure we remember and celebrate our history, but are important in increasing tourism in the area and boosting the local economy. I strongly encourage local people to make use of the money available from the HLF and I am happy to lend my support to funding bids.”

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Toby Perkins is urging the Government to take action now on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals

Toby Perkins MP pledges to become an Arthritis Champion for Chesterfield

Toby Perkins MP has pledged to work alongside leading charity, Arthritis Research UK to represent the thousands of people in Chesterfield living every day with the pain of arthritis.

Toby said, “There are thousands of my constituents living in constant pain due to arthritis and they need timely access to healthcare services to manage their condition and improve their musculoskeletal health.”

Arthritis is the single biggest cause of disability and pain across the country with 10 million people living with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain. The pain, fatigue and lack of mobility caused by arthritis affects every aspect of a person’s life, making everyday tasks such as making a cup of tea, travelling to work or getting out of bed extremely difficult.

As well as the personal impact, these conditions amount to the third largest area of NHS spending, with an annual budget of £4.8 billion, and are the cause of one in five working days lost in the UK.

Toby Perkins has pledged to support Arthritis Research UK’s Prevent, Transform, Cure manifesto in Parliament as an Arthritis Champion, which calls for arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions to be a public health priority, to improve access to services and to increase the support to people with arthritis to help them continue to work.

Speaking about becoming an arthritis champion, Toby Perkins said, “I’m proud to champion Arthritis Research UK’s policy calls to tackle the prevention, transformation and cure of arthritis. We need to put the issues affecting people with arthritis at the forefront of Parliament’s agenda. I will be meeting with Dr Liam O’Toole, chief executive officer of Arthritis Research UK, at the charity’s head office in Chesterfield, to discuss how we can ensure arthritis sufferers are getting the support and services they need.”

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chesterfield station2

Victory for HS2 campaign in boost for Chesterfield

Chesterfield has received a major boost with the confirmation that the High Speed rail service will now definitely serve the Town.

The original plans for HS2 passed through Chesterfield to the East, but lobbying from Town MP Toby Perkins, the local Labour Council and the business community has borne fruit in spectacular style.

The Government announced that they have opted for a proposal which stops at Chesterfield and Sheffield City Centre and requires electrification of the line up to Chesterfield and up to Sheffield to Leeds reducing train journey times North to Leeds as well as south to London.

HS2 is the planned high speed railway that will link London to the Midlands and North, and is due to be completed by around 2033. The East midlands is set to benefit hugely from the HS2 with an increase of between 2.2% and 4.3% in output by 2037, due to the plans.

There was further welcome news as confirmation was also received that HS2 will create jobs at a new Staveley maintenance depot, offering the prospect of high skilled engineering jobs and apprenticeships for local young people long into the future.

Although HS2 is not due to be completed for another 15-20 years, it is a valuable updating of Britain’s Victorian Train infrastructure, reucing journey times between major towns and cities and  freeing up space for passengers travelling on existing rail networks. The building of HS2 will also create thousands of local jobs.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said: “ There have been legitimate criticisms about the process that has been followed, but we have managed to persuade HS2 to continue their investment in the Staveley depot, undo their damaging proposal that would have undermined the Chesterfield Canal and now to introduce the Chesterfield stop that will open up shorter journey times (of around 1 hour 15 minutes to London) to travellers across Chesterfield and the North East Midlands.”

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Is your business a National Champion? – Chesterfield MP searching for Responsible Business Champions for national business awards

Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, is seeking nominations from local businesses who believe the work they put into the local community means they should be considered a Constituency Responsible Business Champion.

Toby said, “Chesterfield is filled with businesses that not only provide jobs and economic growth for the town, but also invest in our communities and try to improve the area in terms of health, training, environment and equality & diversity. The Constituency Responsible Champion awards will be decided by a Parliamentary Judging Panel. All MPs can nominate businesses from their constituency and I would like any businesses in Chesterfield who feel they could be the National Champion to write to me and tell me why they deserve my nomination.”

The National Champion judging panel are looking for companies which are:

  • Supporting the local community
  • Investing in health workplaces
  • Offering apprenticeships and training to all
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Toby said, “I know that businesses in Chesterfield are real community champions who can compete with companies across the UK. The businesses I have visited are community-minded and believe in investing in the area and the local people. These awards could give Chesterfield businesses a chance to show their pedigree to the nation”

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Sutherland kitchen landscape

Toby Perkins MP calls on Government to give our Armed Forces a ‘fair deal’

To mark Armed Forces Day on 24th June, Toby Perkins, Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, has called on the Government to give our Armed Forces a better deal.

Toby, who is Chair of the Labour Friends of the Forces, said “I am delighted to show my support for our Forces, serving personnel, Veterans and their families, on Armed Forces Day. It’s wonderful that we have a day that recognises the hard work and bravery of the forces community but of course they deserve our support all year round.

Government are rightly quick to praise our Armed Forces, but too often the warm words aren’t backed up by actions. Service personnel have seen reductions in pay and conditions, redundancies, more and more deployments and inadequate support for them and their families during and after they serve.

“I’ll be attending The Chesterfield Cadets Armed Forces Day at Wallis Barracks on Boythorpe Road and I look forward to celebrating the day with the whole community”.

Toby helping out in the galley on HMS Collingwood as part of the Parliamentary Armed Forces Scheme

Toby helping out in the galley on HMS Sutherland as part of the Parliamentary Armed Forces Scheme

The Chesterfield Cadets Armed Forces Day will celebrate our Armed Forces and help raise funds and awareness for the Sea and other Cadet units. Chesterfield Sea Cadets is one of the oldest units in

the UK. A number of Armed Forces and community information stalls will be onsite, together with children’s rides, BBQ, Charity Stalls, food and tea stalls, with a flyover from a Battle of Britain aircraft.

Toby added, “Our servicemen and women stand up for us every day, it’s especially important that we stand up for them on Armed Forces Day. I would encourage my constituents to come along to Wallis Barracks on Sunday and show their appreciation for all our Armed Forces personnel and veterans.”

The Wallis Barracks are open from 10am – 4pm on Sunday and will include a march through town from 10.15- 11am. Two weeks later, the Staveley Armed Forces Day will take place at Poolsbrook Country Park on 7th and 8th July.

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Toby with Douglas Fogg, Kevin Fogg and Madeline Makarem

Toby Perkins urges action to save vital ‘Meals On Wheels’ service

Toby Perkins, Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate, has called on the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) and Social Services to do all they can to ensure the RVS ‘Meals On Wheels’ service continues to provide meals to over a hundred elderly and vulnerable people in Derbyshire.

The RVS has decided that the service is no longer financially viable and will be closing on the 16th of June, leaving service users and their families concerned about how they will manage. Toby has met with representatives from the RVS and contacted senior managers, but the service is still scheduled for closure and redundancy notices issued to staff.

Toby visited one service user, Mr Douglas Fogg, a celebrated war hero who was recently awarded a medal by the Russian Federation for his role protecting Arctic convoys during the Second World War (http://www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk/news/chesterfield-s-arctic-heroes-awarded-russian-medal-1-7998551) to discuss how important the service is to him.

Toby said, “Like many of the people who use this service, Douglas is keen to remain in his own home and maintain as much independence as possible. The meals he receives enable him to do this. If the RVS cannot run the service, I urge them to work with the County Council’s Adult Social Care team to ensure that a new provider is found before.”

Toby with Douglas Fogg, Kevin Fogg and Madeline Makarem

Toby with Douglas Fogg, Kevin Fogg and Madeline Makarem

“Douglas has strong family support, but many other service users do not. This service is helping people to remain in the community, rather than being forced into residential care which would result in a far greater cost to the public purse. It is in the interests of everyone that this service is maintained.”

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries in Chesterfield and Staveley so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Email: toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF

Surgeries

I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk to make a booking.

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